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Public Sector Job Growth

One of the things that conservatives have said was that Obama was growing the government by hiring tons of public sector workers. This was not true and easily proven to be false. The following is from Calculated Risk Blog, who put together the numbers and the graphs. (There is no website that I know of that does a better job at giving us an overall picture of the economy.)

A big difference between the presidencies has been public sector employment.  Note the bumps in public sector employment due to the decennial Census in 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010. 


The public sector grew during Mr. Carter’s term (up 1,304,000), during Mr. Reagan’s terms (up 1,414,000), during Mr. G.H.W. Bush’s term (up 1,127,000), during Mr. Clinton’s terms (up 1,934,000), and during Mr. G.W. Bush’s terms (up 1,744,000 jobs).

However the public sector has declined significantly since Mr. Obama took office (down 638,000 jobs). These job losses have mostly been at the state and local level, but more recently at the Federal level.  This has been a significant drag on overall employment.

And a table for public sector jobs. Public sector jobs declined the most during Obama’s first term, and increased the most during Reagan’s 2nd term.


Term Public Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Carter 1,304
Reagan 1 -24
Reagan 2 1,438
GHW Bush 1,127
Clinton 1 692
Clinton 2 1,242
GW Bush 1 900
GW Bush 2 844
Obama 1 -702
Obama 2 641
128 months into 2nd term, 110 pace

Looking forward, I expect the economy to continue to expand through 2016 (at least), so I don’t expect a sharp decline in private employment as happened at the end of Mr. Bush’s 2nd term (In 2005 and 2006 I was warning of a coming recession due to the bursting of the housing bubble).

For the public sector, the cutbacks are clearly over at the state and local levels, and it appears cutbacks at the Federal level might also be over.  Right now I’m expecting some increase in public employment during Obama’s 2nd term, but nothing like what happened during Reagan’s second term.

Here is a table of the top three presidential terms for private job creation (they also happen to be the three best terms for total non-farm job creation).

Clinton’s two terms were the best for both private and total non-farm job creation, followed by Reagan’s 2nd term.

Currently Obama’s 2nd term is on pace to be the 2nd best ever for private job creation.  However, with very few public sector jobs added, Obama’s 2nd term is only on pace to be the third best for total job creation.

Note: Only 64 thousand public sector jobs have been added during the first twenty eight months of Obama’s 2nd term (following a record loss of 702 thousand public sector jobs during Obama’s 1st term).  This is less than 8% of the public sector jobs added during Reagan’s 2nd term!


Top Employment Gains per Presidential Terms (000s)
Rank Term Private Public Total Non-Farm
1 Clinton 1 10,885 692 11,577
2 Clinton 2 10,070 1,242 11,312
3 Reagan 2 9,357 1,438 10,795
Obama 21 6,322 64 6,386
Pace2 10,838 110 10,948
128 Months into 2nd Term
2Current Pace for Obama’s 2nd Term

The second table shows the jobs need per month for Obama’s 2nd term to be in the top three presidential terms.


Average Jobs needed per month (000s)
for Obama’s 2nd Term
to Rank Private Total
#1 228 260
#2 187 246
#3 152 220

Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2015/06/public-and-private-sector-payroll-jobs.html#j5XVy8W01MpQe7Td.99

By |2015-06-11T07:23:28-04:00June 10th, 2015|Economy|Comments Off on Public Sector Job Growth

The false dichotomy

If we watch the mainstream media, we are completely led astray. The above clip is one of the best examples that I’ve seen in a little while. The new census/poverty numbers came out yesterday. It should be no surprise to anyone that poverty increased in this country. The increase in poverty is a result of multiple different factors, not the least of which is our ongoing recession (technically it’s an economic slowdown , but it feels like a recession to me). Because of an unemployment rate of 9.1% and the huge burden of chronic unemployment, the number of Americans who are uninsured in the United States has risen to approximately 50 million.

CBS, in their infinite wisdom, decided talk about healthcare reform with Sen. Orrin Hatch, who believes that health care reform should be addressed by the states, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who believes that we should have a single-payer system. They approach the subject as if there are only two sides to the story. CBS does not give you the prerequisite background about the healthcare reform debate and subsequent legislation’s getting derailed early and never really getting back on track. The final piece of legislation was a watered-down piece of used tissue, little more than insurance reform.

There are several things to fault about this piece but I’ll focus on the fact that the moderator never asked Sen. Hatch how states that are strapped for cash can take on the additional burden of healthcare. That would seem to be a simple question which would directly address Sen. Hatch’s “plan.” A second and follow-up question, which was never asked, would be whether or not you should have the same benefits if you moved from one state to another. Why should moving from Texas to North Carolina change what is covered? If the answer is that your healthcare benefits should not change and your healthcare benefits should be able to move with you anywhere throughout these wonderful 50 United States, then the state solution is not possible. This is a simple nonconfrontational question which could easily been asked and then we could have seen how Sen. Hatch answered it.

Finally, one of the big problems I have is over the last 20 years all of these politicians have been schooled on how to “answer” questions on TV. I’ve been to these classes. The bottom line is you don’t ever answer the question. You walk into the interview with three things that you want to say. No matter what you are asked, you ignore the question and steer the answer back to one of your three points. This is one of the major problems with politics today. Nobody directly addresses the question that is asked. Instead, the politician throws out some gobbledygook before he/she can get back to one of the three points that they want to make. This has to stop. If we are ever going to get meaningful legislation out of Washington, our state capitals or anywhere else, we’re going to have to have a meaningful debate. We can never have a meaningful debate if we are simply talking past each other and racing towards our talking points.

By |2011-09-14T11:16:58-04:00September 14th, 2011|Economy, Healthcare|Comments Off on The false dichotomy

Jobs. We need more jobs.

I’m not sure what our representatives are doing on Capitol Hill. I know what they need to be doing. They need to be passing a jobs bill. We need a green energy bill which creates millions of jobs. The new job numbers are out and they tell us what we are ready know. The job market is weak. The private sector added 71,000 jobs, while we lost a lot of temporary jobs because the Census is winding down.

The Economic Policy Institute has more:

Payroll jobs
The total number of payroll jobs declined by 131,000 in July, though the shedding of 143,000 temporary Census jobs more than accounted for that loss. In order to get a handle on the fundamentals of the labor market this summer, it is and will continue to be important to look at the payroll numbers excluding changes in temporary Census employment. (The Census still has 196,000 temporary employees on its payroll. These jobs will also disappear in the next couple months.)

Excluding changes in temporary Census hiring, the number of payroll jobs increased by 12,000 in July.  The private sector added 71,000 jobs, while state and local governments–their budgets crunched–shed 48,000 jobs (-10,000 state, -38,000 local).  The federal government (excluding changes in temporary Census jobs) shed 11,000 jobs.

The “underemployment rate,” or the U-6 measure of labor underutilization, is a more comprehensive measure of labor market slack than the unemployment rate because it includes not just the officially unemployed, but also jobless workers who have given up looking for work, and people who want full time jobs but have had to settle for part-time work (note, however, it does not include people who are underemployed in the sense that they have had to take a job that is below their skills, training, or experience level).  This measure was at 16.5% in July, meaning that one in six U.S. workers was either unemployed or underemployed.  This was unchanged from June, masking an increase of 110,000 in the number of “marginally attached” workers (jobless workers who have given up looking for work), and a decline of 98,000 of involuntary part-time workers.  In July, there were a total of 25.8 million workers who were either unemployed or underemployed. (more…)

By |2010-08-08T20:14:35-04:00August 8th, 2010|Congress, Economy|Comments Off on Jobs. We need more jobs.
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